Wampus Cats roll
Cary McClain rushed for three touchdowns and senior cornerback Randy Thomas intercepted two passes in the first quarter as Conway beat Rogers 49-7 in the Class 7A state playoffs.
PINE BLUFF 21, EL DORADO 15
EL DORADO — El Dorado’s senior playmakers were on the sideline Friday night with injuries. Pine Bluff senior Berkarion Black was on the field making plays.
Black’s 19-yard touchdown reception with 1:53 left to play gave the Zebras a 2115 victory in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs at Memorial Stadium. Black’s interception on El Dorado’s ensuing possession helped preserve the Pine Bluff victory.
“Hats off to Pine Bluff. They had a drive they had to have to win the game, and they did it,” El Dorado Coach Scott Reed said. “They made the plays that you have to make.”
The Wildcats (5-6) played three quarterbacks — senior Wanya Frazier, who was a receiver two weeks ago; sophomore Eli Shepherd; and freshman Sharmon Rester, who just moved up from the ninth-grade team. El Dorado was also without its top three receivers.
The inexperience was glaring in the first half, which saw the Wildcats go without a first down and finish with negative-34 yards of offense.
The Wildcats trailed just 7-0 at halftime thanks to a strong effort from the defense and the punting of senior Derek Jobe.
The Wildcats picked up their initial first down on Frazier’s 36-yard pass to Trey Norman on the first play of the third quarter. Two plays later, Keonte Larry had the ball pop loose. Pine Bluff’s Colby Davis scooped it up and returned it 70 yards for the touchdown and a 13-0 lead with 10:58 left in the third quarter.
Jobe, who had a 61-yard punt downed at the Pine Bluff 9 in the first half, boomed a 59-yard punt to the Zebras’ 1. On the next play, the Wildcats made a tackle in the end zone for a safety, cutting the lead to 13-2 with 5:50 left in the third.
“His punting tonight was incredible,” Reed said of Jobe. “It was awesome. He had a great night.”
After the ensuing kickoff, El Dorado took over at the Pine Bluff 40. Larry broke loose for a 31-yard gain to the 9. Sophomore Jarmel Love entered the game, took the direct snap and ran for 1 and 7 yards before scoring on a 1-yard run. Greysen Hubbard kicked the extra point with 4:05 left in the third to cut the deficit to 13-9.
The Wildcats continued to struggle on offense, but Jobe’s 50-yard punt was downed at the Pine Bluff 13. On third and 7, Quentin Frazier sacked Shauwon Howell to force a fumble, which was recovered by Wanya Archie at the 5.
Love scored from 5 yards out for a 15-13 advantage with 3:43 left in the game.
The Zebras (5-5-1) took over at the 19 with 3:31 left on the clock. They put together a 12-play drive, converting a pair of fourth downs before Black’s game-winning catch.
JONESBORO 47, LAKE HAMILTON 44
JONESBORO — The Hurricane overcome an early 10-point deficit as quarterback Cross Jumper accounted for four touchdowns, and Jonesboro (7-4) held on to beat Lake Hamilton (5-6).
Jonesboro fell behind 10-0 after fumbling a ball out of the end zone for a safety and yielding a 100-yard interception return and two-point conversion to Lake Hamilton in the game’s opening minutes.
Jumper (14-21 passing, 207 yards, 3 TDs; 21-110 rushing, 1 TD) threw 3 touchdown passes to Tate Lutes (6-98 receiving) and Jumper scored on a 21yard run as the Hurricane charged to a 47-36 lead with three minutes to play.
Lake Hamilton scored and converted a two-point conversion to make it 47-44, recovered an onside-kick attempt and had a chance to tie or win the game before Logan Orr’s interception secured the victory for Jonesboro.